Dubai shops for flowers worth millions from Brazil and other South American countries, with the opening of direct flights to Rio de Janeiro. Ever since Emirates started its six-weekly schedule to the country, businesses in the regions are exploring at new ventures where time is crucial.
The Dubai Flower Centre (pictured above), a state-of-the-art facility built at a cost of $300 million at Dubai Cargo Village, is capable of handling 150,000 tonnes of perishable products on annual basis, and is fast emerging as a hub for regional flower trading.
Representatives of the Arab Brazilian Chamber and of the Ministry of Agriculture met Ali Al Jallaf, vice-president of the cargo unit at Dubai Airports, at the Flower Centre to discuss the logistics of developing the flower export business from the South American region.
“Flower trade has become easier with the direct Emirates flight to Brazil,” said Al Jallaf.
“There is great potential, not just for sales to Dubai but to the whole of the Middle East, Asia and Russia. We have already received flowers from Colombia and Ecuador through auctions in Amsterdam, but buying straight is easier and cheaper than travelling to Holland.”
Al Jallaf said a large part of the flowers traded in Dubai also come from African countries.
The Foreign Relations Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Célio Porto, and the director of the Trade Promotion Department at the ministry, Eduardo Sampaio Marques, discussed about flower production hubs in Brazil, such as Holambra, in the interior of Sao Paulo, and other regions in the northeast of the country.
Al Jallaf said the Dubai Flower Centre receives 80 tonnes of flowers a year, but it has a total capacity for up to 150,000 tonnes.
He said the product for the centre was thought up five years ago, but effectively went into operation three years ago.
“The aircraft went to Africa, loaded and returned empty, so we decided to start researching what we could bring from there, and it was flowers.”